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Microsoft

The Evolution of Internet Explorer – an Informational Technology Wonder

Internet Explorer didn’t always move in step with the times. When the internet first became publicly available, IE was struggling to catch up, believe it or not. Well, I say “struggling” but of course the concept of Microsoft ever struggling in an industry where it’s had a choke hold on all PC users for decades is pretty ludicrous. It was just a bit slow off the mark.

It soon caught up, and then began the game of staying in synch with the high speed internet providers. Each time a new theoretical top speed for domestic or business use was reached, technology changed to take advantage of it. Back in the age of the web dinosaurs, for example, sites had no Flash, no animation and no interactivity. In fact, using the web at all back then was a bit like banging your head repeatedly against a brick wall while you waited for someone to paint a message on it. I remember making breakfast in the time it took my modem to send my first email and wondering what all the fuss was about!

These days, high speed internet providers improve the capabilities of the internet on a regular basis. Programming languages and search engine algorithms change with the times, while browsers like IE are constantly having to reinvent themselves to keep up with the demands of the web developers. For example: older versions of Internet Explorer were completely useless at working out what Flash was; and newer versions still haven’t got the hang of some WC3 compliant programming techniques.

There are, of course, plenty of competitors to Internet Explorer – some of which have become serious competitors, freely downloadable, flashier and generally easier to use. Firefox and Google Chrome both enjoy their followings – and with Google Chrome making a much better job of running Cloud style functions like Google Docs, you have to wonder what the next version of Internet Explorer will have to do to catch up. From personal experience, running Google Docs on Internet Explorer (which some of my clients demand – that is that I run Google Docs, not that I do it on Internet Explorer) is slightly slower and more painful than pulling your own teeth out with a spoon.

Google Docs, of course, would not even exist were it not for high speed internet providers. The amount of processing power and download capabilities you need to run the thing properly is astronomical (in terms of the speeds we were used to only two years ago) – and as we’ve already seen, your choice of browser is key too.

The fundamental fact of the matter is that internet speed is running away with itself so quickly that all browsers have to keep an eye on themselves if they’re going to keep up. One of the things that has always struck me about Internet Explorer, though, which perhaps keeps it lagging behind Google and Firefox, is that it seems to hang back and make a big song and dance about releasing new versions of itself – while other browsers just update whenever they need to. Maybe if Internet Explorer was less involved with creating an all new v10 (or wherever we are now) and more interested in just staying abreast of things, it’d be a different story.

Defender USA